Charles Pickett

photo: Kalamazoo County Sheriff

Sentencing For Man Convicted Of Killing 5 Bicyclists In Kalamazoo

He'll serve at least 40 years.

June 11, 2018 - 1:17 pm

KALAMAZOO (WWJ) - A west Michigan judge has sentenced Charles Pickett Jr. to at least 40 years behind bars for killing five bicyclists while driving under the influence of drugs. 

Pickett, of Battle Creek, apologized and said he would give his own life for the people who were killed and injured. But a judge called his plea "woefully inadequate." 

Nine people were struck from behind on June 7, 2016, on a rural two-lane road; Jennifer Johnson was one of those who survived the accident. 

"Five remarkable loving, generous individuals who worked tirelessly to make the world a better place, have been taken from us because of your choices," said Johnson said during sentencing.

There's no dispute that he had swallowed painkillers and other drugs before driving his pickup truck. But his lawyers argued that murder charges were excessive.

Pickett, 52, was convicted last month of five counts of second-degree murder. Prosecutors say he was speeding when he slammed into a pack of bicyclists in Cooper Township -- and didn't touch the brake even after striking the first victim.